Tim Charles

Interview by Roland Beaney.

We were all sad to hear of the passing of Rob Leighton. Tim Charles was especially sad because he had been a regular "stand in" for Rob since becoming a presenter on Radio Caroline. I caught up with Tim on board the Ross Revenge recently and talked to him about his involvement with Radio Caroline.

Tim's first two broadcasts were for Pirate BBC Essex with Paul Graham with the LV 18 project but he tells me that John Patrick was his mentor and he learnt a lot of the trade while sitting in with John assisting him with his programs. One night they saw a gap in the system with no one to fill in so he did the slot. After speaking to the programme controller it was agreed that he could take over an overnight slot permanently.  This then led to him standing in for Robs Imagination show. Tim tells me that he had similar music tastes to Rob and really enjoyed doing the shows for him. He used to phone Rob on many occasions to discuss the shows and the music content. Tim didn't want to copy Rob but felt that he had to respect his audience. Tim said that Rob had better access to new music so the shows were changed slightly with Rob's approval. Tim's own shows take a more classical theme with the Magic Carpet Ride which is a legacy of the old Overdrive shows that was a feature of Radio Mi-Amigo's overnight service. Tim got the name from a Steppenwolfe track and thought to himself that it would be a good name for an overnight show. On the first Saturday of every month Tim has his Blues R240 show featuring Blues Rock music and has had a good reaction from his audience. He says that there are a lot of good bands out there that don't get their music played on the radio and regularly phones up contacts and bands to get their music.

Tim's favourite music is AOR to Medium heavy Symphonic Goth, these are European bands many fronted by women and are experienced musicians. Like many of us he doesn't like the policy these days of pulling inexperienced people off the streets and putting them on a TV talent show. Tim puts in a lot of planning to his shows and listens to every track he plays in advance.  Tim's earliest memory of Caroline was in 1964 during the second week on air. After the Marine offences act Caroline's change of format to an album track station had a big influence on his music choice when he found classics like King Crimson and Prog Rock. He joined Caroline in 1989 when he heard the raid on the ship. He became very upset and after hearing appeals for supplies of equipment he felt that he could offer his services. Tim is a production engineer and had access to surplus equipment and though John Knight and Ian G. offered his services. He first went on board the Ross Revenge in Dover and he is still supplying the ship with goods and services. 

Tim is passionate about music and his favourite groups are Mostly Autumn, Epica, Nightwish, After Forever, The Goona Goyle and Evanescence. He likes album track music and feels that the station should keep the legacy of playing album Rock.  Tim plans to continue with his overnight show but he may not be available to continue with his new Thursday evening 9pm to midnight show. Before Rob passed on Tim had been talking to him about doing a progressive music show and a show based on a 4 hour musical search / quest for Avalon the Mythical Kingdom. He said that Rob had many musical ideas and planned his shows so that one track leads to another.  

Tim said that Caroline played music that other stations have failed to play but the listeners come first. He tried to combine the two. He takes particular notice of text and e-mail messages from listeners and tries to find the tracks they want to hear even if this means searching for the tracks during the week to play them on the next show. He plays mainly CDs and is always interested in music ideas from listeners. Tim comes over as a presenter that takes a keen interest in his programs, the listeners and certainly has a passion for the music that he plays. 

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